Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Life and Art of Tony Da

Guests of The Madeleine Bed & Breakfast Inn will want to set aside time for a visit to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture to view Creative Spark!  The Life and Art of Tony Da.  The exhibition, which is up now through December, is the first comprehensive retrospective of pottery and paintings by Da.  Incorporating traditional motifs (his favorite being prehistoric Mimbres designs) with his own contemporary ideas, Da created some of the most innovative and varied art of any Native American artist of his time.

Tony Da came from a long lineage of talented potters from the San Ildefonso Pueblo.  His father, Popovi Da, was one of the first pueblo potters to break the tradition of creating only black-on-black pottery.  His very famous grandmother, Maria Martinez, was also a ground-breaker.  Rather than work exclusively with the traditional polychrome pottery that was the style in the 1900's, she is actually credited with creating the black-on-black pottery we now associate with San Ildefonso. 

Unfortunately Da's exciting career was dramatically shortened after a motorcycle accident in 1982 left him with severe head injuries at the young age of 42. He did some work between the time of his accident and his death in 2008, though the bulk of his work occurred before the tragic incident.  With such a brief career, the work of Tony Da is rare and becoming quite valuable.

The exhibition showcases about 40 pieces of pottery - red, black, and polychrome pots, jars and plates, along with some sculptural animal pieces.  Also on display are about 20 paintings, both abstract and representational.  This retrospective includes work done from the 1950's through the 1980's.

Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
710 Camino Lejo (Museum Hill)
Hours:  10-5 Tue-Sun (open Mondays during the summer months)
Admission:  $6 for New Mexico Residents
                   $9 for non-residents
                   FREE for children under age 16

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